6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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Summary: The Baptism of Jesus was an unusual event teaching us lessons.

“Lessons From An Unusual Baptismal Service”

Mark 1:1-10 (KJV) 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. 9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

Mark 1:9-10 (KJV) 9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

Introduction

A baptismal service is an interesting experience. During my thirty-five years as a pastor, I have witnessed many baptismal services. Memory brings to mind families who were baptized together. Several times I had the unique pleasure of baptizing a father and child or a husband and wife. Once an elderly lady who was very sick was helped into the baptistery by two deacons. Another time a minister friend of mind baptized his own daughter. That was quite a baptism.

But perhaps the most unusual baptismal service of all time was one in the Jordan River in the Judean wilderness some two thousand plus years ago. Jesus of Nazareth came to John the Baptist and requested baptism. John backed away from the request, but Jesus persuaded John to baptize him. In a simple setting void of ornamentation and convenience, this was the most significant baptism ever to occur.

1. It was unusual in the sense that the Son of God asked John, an ordinary man, to baptize him.

2. It was unique because the voice of God was heard saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17).

3. Then the heavens opened and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending on him like a dove.

The gospel writers included Jesus's baptism in the record because of its great importance.

We can apply practical lessons from our Lord's baptism to our lives. I want us to look at three such lessons.

I. The first lesson is unhesitating obedience.

We are told little of what happened to Jesus during the eighteen years between his visit to the temple and his baptismal service. When Jesus went to John, he ended the period of silence and emerged in his formal ministry.

A. The response of Jesus to baptism showed an unhesitating obedience to the Father's will.

Often we hear, "Was Jesus not different from the others whom John baptized? They needed to confess their sins, and their baptism signified their repentance. But why would Jesus need to be baptized?"

If John's baptism was for repentance from sin, why was Jesus baptized? While even the greatest prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) had to confess their sinfulness and need for repentance, Jesus didn't need to admit sin—he was sinless (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 3:5). Although Jesus didn't need forgiveness, he was baptized for the following reasons: (1) to confess sin on behalf of the nation; (2) to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15) in order to accomplish God's mission and advance God's work in the world; (3) to inaugurate his public ministry to bring the message of salvation to all people; (4) to show support for John's ministry; (5) to identify with the penitent people of God, thus with humanness of sinful mankind; (6) to give us an example to follow.

Jesus submitted to baptism as a sign of obedience. He dedicated himself openly to God's will and purpose for his life.

B. The response of our baptism.

Behind every baptismal service is a person who submits to the will and purpose of God for his or her life. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. The person who truly repented was baptized.

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